Dec 02, 2016
Saracens Women Run In Eight Tries To Overcome Richmond
A second half master class from Saracens Women, with six unanswered tries, secured a bonus point win away from home over the reigning champions at Richmond Athletic Ground.
A faultless display from flyhalf Zoe Harrison – who collected 24 points – plus tries from Claire Allan, skipper Sonia Green and a brace from Bryony Cleall and Nina Vistisen saw off a determined Richmond side as Saracens move into the top four of the Women’s Premiership after round nine.
Number eight Bryony Cleall picked up the Player of the Match award with the powerful backrow crashing over for two scores and making a number of bulldozing breaks which caused havoc for the home side all afternoon.
It was Richmond who started brightest on a chilly day in West London, patiently playing the phases as they edged towards the Sarries line. Strong carries from Laura Kapo and the impressive Alex Matthews put them on the front foot however the visitor’s impressive line speed forced multiple knock-ons to extinguish Richmond’s attacking opportunities. The Saracens defence was finally breached after 17 minutes as second row Rowena Burnfield burrowed over from a well worked catch and drive off the lineout.
Saracens responded with a solid maul of their own following a lineout from a penalty; captain Sonia Green on the end of it to score. Harrison converted.
The second Sarries try of the afternoon came courtesy of Claire Allan. The ball was worked well through the hands with Rio 7s team mate Emily Scott delivering a beautiful pass for the winger to finish out wide.
Following a lengthy break as Richmond flanker Sam McCarthy was stretchered off the pitch following a nasty injury, the home side struck again on half time as Saracens were caught napping and found themselves pinned on the line. Richmond took advantage of the lapse in concentration to power over from close range and narrow the gap to two points going into half time.
It proved to be a game of two halves as Saracens found a second gear and dominated the second forty minutes. A confident take from Green off the kick off and searing break by Harrison took Sarries deep into Richmond territory. An infringement by the home side allowed Saracens to kick for the corner but the resulting drive was held up over the line. Solid work from the Sarries pack piled on the pressure upfront as Richmond were penalised at scrum time allowing Cleall to tap and go over for her first of the afternoon.
The visitors struck again scoring two quick-fire tries in four minutes to wrap up the bonus point. Nina Vistisen found herself on the end of a Claire Allan break to score, before Zoe Harrison added the fifth of the game. Stellar work from the Sarries pack forced the scrum turnover and Zoe Harrison spotted the gap to waltz through the Richmond defence for an outstanding score from halfway.
Saracens next try again came courtesy of some fine set piece work lead upfront by Karlee Walters, Geri Thomas and Kerrie-Ann Craddock as the pack bullied Richmond over the line for Cleall to notch up her second.
Despite Richmond having a numerical advantage as Saracens winger Emma Uren was shown a yellow card for a high tackle at 65 minutes, they were starved of possession and unable to capitalise and it was the visitors who struck again through Harrison. The flyhalf was instrumental in the build up to the try, threading through a probing kick which was chased down and turned over by fullback Emily Scott. Harrison finishing the move with some fine footwork to score.
Saracens centre Nina Vistisen had the final say of the match with a superb solo effort; a chip and chase bouncing up perfectly for her to gather and dive over the whitewash. Harrison added the extras to wrap up an eight try bonus point win for the away side.
Speaking after the match, head coach Rob Cain said: “Today was a great performance from the girls and each week we grow a bit taller and get a bit wiser. It was a huge defensive effort by all the players in that first half. Their character and ability to soak up pressure really showed. The forward pack did a solid job stopping Richmond's driving maul and this stamped out their ability to build momentum. With the ball we look more dangerous each week and we are starting to not only recognise mismatches but we’re also creating them. We will enjoy this one today, come back into training and build again for another big game away to Worcester next Sunday.”
Final Score: Richmond Ladies 10 Saracens Women 52
Tries: Green (23); Allan (27); Cleall (42,56); Vistisen (45,75); Harrison (49,70)
Cons: Harrison 6/8
Replacements used: Craddock for Perry (24); Galligan for Cleall (58); Peedle for Barras (60); Ryan for Brown (60); Blindell for Walters (62)
Yellow cards: Uren (65)